Trying to save up for that grand vacation that you’ve always dreamed of, but you just can’t seem to find any spare cash? Everyone loves to travel, but for many people, a lack of sufficient funds keeps them from exploring new places. If you’re one of these people, never fear! You can stop day dreaming, and make it happen.
Here is a list of 10 easy ways to cut back on everyday expenditures so that you can go on the vacations of your dreams.
1. Start your savings by lower your utility bills at home. You will be surprised how much you can save just by turning off the lights in each room as you leave, or turning off the air-conditioning and opening up your windows. Change your air filters so the unit works efficiently. Unplug items when they are not in use including computers, microwaves and toaster ovens. Standby power can amount to as much as 10% of your monthly bill. Use energy efficient light bulbs. Take shorter showers. You should easily be able to save $25 per month by implementing these changes. Put the money that you would normally have paid for the electric bills aside (around $300 for the year,) for your new travel fund.
2. Cut out unnecessary channels on your cable television package. You pay a huge premium for sports and movie channels that may not be worth having. Many of the same things can be found on your computer for free. Changing from a premium to basic cable package can easily save you $75 per month. That’s $900 more into your travel fund.
3. Unless you really love going to the gym, memberships can be quite costly, and many exercises do not require the use of an indoor facility or equipment. Yoga, running, bike riding, aerobics, dance and more can easily be done in the comfort of your home, in a park or on the beach. Average gym memberships run $40 per month – you’ve got another $480 you can save up.
4. Use less money for gas. Car pool when you can. Make to do lists and plan your trips so that you run your errands all in one day, versus going to the grocery store every few days because you forgot something. If you can stand the heat, don’t use the AC constantly in your car. Park in the shade when you can to avoid the car from heating up. Walk or ride a bike to places that are within a close proximity to you. This is good, not only for increasing your travel savings, but for your health as well. You should easily be able to save at least $25 per month ($300 annually) in gas.
5. Save on your grocery shopping by utilizing coupons, sales and local markets that will discount your weekly food costs. If you normally budget $100 per week on food, try to reduce this by $10 dollars and put the excess money away for your next trip. That’s $480 in one year.
6. If you’ve got some expensive bad habits, like smoking or drinking in excess, minimize the amount of time your partaking in these activities so that the money that is so quickly wasted away can be saved for a more exciting adventure. When you do go out, look for happy hour specials. Remember alcohol is marked up around 40%, so buy your own bottle of wine and have it at home. Since these expenses do not apply to everyone, we will not factor them into the travel budget.
7. Instead of shopping for new clothes each season, try to recycle your clothes to fit the following season. Jeans can be cut into shorts; sweaters and long sleeved shirts can be cut into tanks. It’s easy and fun to be creative with fashion. Learn to utilize what you have. Shop seasonally. Keep an eye out for stores clearing their racks of inventory in anticipation for the next season. Also consider outlet stores. Since most women are shoppers and men tpyically are not, we are going to be conservative and say that you can save $300 off your shopping budget each year.
8. In the evening, rent a movie online. Cinemas are expensive these days – easily $30 – $40 just to get into the movies not to mention the concession stand, so keep the money that you would be spending on popcorn, drinks and a movie and stay in for the night. You can rent Redbox movies instead for $1 or Netflix for $10 per month. We won’t factor any savings in this category, but you know if it applies to you.
9. Stop dining out at restaurants. It’s much more economical to eat in. Try out some new recipes and enjoy the dining in the comfort of your own home. Keep at an eye out for dining deals on sites like Groupon or Restaurant.com. Bring your lunch to work. Also, avoid buying overpriced coffee from places, like Starbucks. You’ll be surprised how much you can save! On a very conservative forecast, let’s say you would save just $20 per week in this category weekly, by just bringing your lunch with you daily – that’s $1,040 per year. For those of you who eat lunch out every day, the savings could easily be over the $1,500 mark.
10. Finally, make a few extra bucks by selling off all your clutter items on eBay or by having a yard sale. As the old saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” You never know what people will buy. You won’t miss having the mess, while your vacationing in the Caribbean, Europe or wherever you decide to go.
So there you have it – at least $3,500 for a vacation accomplished in just one year by just being a little more mindful about your expenses. If you are willing to make more significant lifestyle changes in order to pursue your passion for travel, like moving back home temporarily, you could easily save more than double that amount.
Trust us – it will be worth it. Travel can change your life.